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A Tour of Mandi Bahauddin (Three Gurdwaras and A Temple)

On July 27, 2019, I had had an opportunity to visit Mandi Bahauddin, on the invitation of my dear friend and brother Irfan Ahmed. I explored the area around Mandi Bahauddin many times in the past, but never fully explored the city itself. It was a family visit and I was just looking forward to meeting our relatives and perhaps a little discovery of one or two old buildings. But the visit turned out to be very interesting. Irfan being aware of my fondness for old buildings, having some historical significance, took me on a quick tour of the city. The central part of the town, the bazaar area is well planned and has broad streets, though like every other city and town of Pakistan overcrowded with encroachments, especially the carts selling mostly vegetables/fruits or clothes. 
Our first destination was an old Pathshala (school). It is located in a by-lane off the main Sadar Bazar road at  32°35’7.35″N; 73°29’30.46″E. Even today it is being used as a government primary school. The compound has many rooms on two sides of a courtyard in two floors, and the only structure which is of any particular interest is that of a pavilion. I am not sure what the pavilion was used for. Perhaps a statue existed here in the past. 

A pavilion in the compound. (27.07.2019)

Another view of the pavilion.(27.07.2019)

A row of rooms. (27.07.2019)

A view of the courtyard.(27.07.2019)

Looking towards the entrance.(27.07.2019)

Tariq Amir and Ibrahim Tariq.(27.07.2019)

Tariq Amir and Irfan Ahmed.(27.07.2019)

Some old houses in front of the Dharmsala.(27.07.2019)

यह पाठ शाला म.  नोदड  मल संत (क्षत्र) सराफ जी ने सपनी पूज्या स्वर्ग्वाशी माता श्री मतिवीरां देवी जी की पवित्र स्मृतिमें बनवाई – माघ सं: १९९१ اومیہ پاٹھ شالا (درسگاہ) م. نودڑ ملسنت (کشترا) صراف جی نے اپنیپوجیا (پوجنے لائق یعنی بہت محترم ) سورگواشی (جنتی یعنی مرحوم ) ماتا شریمتی (محترمہ)ویراں دیوی جی کی پوِتر سمرتی (مقدس یاد)میں بنوائی – ماگھ 1991 (1934 ء)This school was constructed by Nodar Mal, in the sacred memory of his late mother, Shrimati Veraan Devi. Magh 1999 Smvat. (1934 AD)

काहन चंद सनघोई निवासी ने श्रयनीधर्म पतनी श्रीमती हर देवी की पवित्र  स्मृतिमें बनवायाIN SACRED MEMORY OF HIS WIFESHRIMATI HAR DEVIWHO DIED ON 30TH OCTOBER, 1933BUILT BYKAHAN CHAND OF SANGHOIAT A COST OF RS. 10001934After briefly visiting this Dharamsala we passed through the busy Sadar bazaar and turned towards Ghalla Mandi (grain market) road. Here we reached in front of an old two storey building. The ground floor has some shops facing the road. The entrance is a small door leading to a room and adjoining corridor, that opens into a big hall. The building was a gurdwara before 1947 and now it is being used as a warehouse and is totally neglected and due to negligence is falling apart. I forgot to ask someone, but probably is a property of the Auqaf department (or Evacuee Trust Property Board). Now the problem is that these properties have been rented out or given on long term leases. Hence the occupants have no interest in repairing or maintaining them. Therefore, tragically many beautiful buildings across the country are deteriorating. 
I was told by a person, that it was a much bigger complex and another large building was attached to it, which was perhaps a guest house and langar hall etc. related to the gurdwara. The date of construction is not known, but we can safely guess that it would have been constructed in 1920s or 1930s. It is located at 32°35’3.90″N; 73°29’24.77″E. (In the map given below, I shall refer to this gurdwara as Gurdwara 1.)

A gurdwara in Mandi Bahauddin.(27.07.2019)

Two sides of the gurdwara.(27.07.2019)

A partially surviving plaque above the entrance.(27.07.2019)

The main hall.(27.07.2019)

Arches of the first floor and the ventilators.(27.07.2019)

Another view of the arches.(27.07.2019)

Large galleries exist behind these arches.(27.07.2019)

It must have been a beautiful building in its good days(27.07.2019)

Galleries on the first floor.(27.07.2019)

Another view of the arches.(27.07.2019)

The ceiling of the hall. (27.07.2019)

The interior was painted in sky blue. (27.07.2019)

The building is used as a warehouse.(27.07.2019)

A view of the first floor.(27.07.2019)

The building is so badly damaged and passages are blocked that I had to use this ladder to go to the first floor.(27.07.2019)

The roof of the hall is quite high.(27.07.2019)

A corridor on the ground floor filled with junk.(27.07.2019)

A view of the gallery on the first floor(27.07.2019)

A view of the gallery on the first floor(27.07.2019)

The ventilators as seen from outside.(27.07.2019)

A gallery in a bad condition.(27.07.2019)

The roof at places has caved in.(27.07.2019)

੫੧ ਸਿਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ ਜਗਤ ਸੰਘ  ______ ਹਾਲ ਮੰਡੀਸਾਹਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਵਾਰ ਫਗਣ ੧੯੯੫ 51 روپے سیوا کرائیجگت سنگھ _________ ہال منڈیساہت پروار پھگنڑ 1995 (مارچ 1938)Rs 51, service rendered by Jagat Singh _____ Hal Mandi, literary body, Phgan 1995. (1938 AD)

੧੦ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈਸ੍ਰ: ਜੀਵਣ ਸਿੰਘ ਵਧਵਾ ਯਾਦਗਾਰਅਪਨੇ ਭਰਾਤਾ ਕਰਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਦੀ 10 روپے سیوا کرائی سردار جیونڑ سنگھ ودھوا یادگاراپنے بھراتا کرتار سنگھ دی Rs 10, service rendered by Sardar Jeevan Singh Wadha, in memory of his brother. 

੧੦ ਸ੍ਰ: ਈਸ਼ਰ ਸਿੰਘਦਫੇਦਾਰ10 روپے سردار ایشر سنگھدفعدارRs 10, service rendered by Sardar Eshar Singh Dafedear (a non commissioned officer in the cavalry)

250 ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ ਇਸ ਚੋਵੰਕ ਦੀ ਭ: ਜੈ ਸਿੰਘਪ੍ਰੀਤਮ ਸਿੰਘ ਕਰੀਆਨੇ ਵਾਲੇ ਮੰਡੀ ਸੈਹਤ ਪ੍ਰਵਾਰ250 روپے سیوا کرائی اس چوک دی بھائی جے سنگھپریتم سنگھ کریانے والے منڈی سیہت پروارRs 250, service rendered by Bhai Jai Singh Pritam Singh, store merchant, and market community. 
Just at a little distance from the main Sadar bazaar and not far from the above-mentioned gurdwara, another old building exists. That too was a gurdwara. Now a family lives inside this building and we could not see it from inside. It too is a fairly large building with an impressive facade. This gurdwara is located at 32°35’0.41″N; 73°29’22.27″E. (In the map given below, I shall refer to this gurdwara as Gurdwara 2.) Kashmir House is painted above the door in Urdu, because refugees from Kashmir settled in after the independence. 

The main entrance of the gurdwara. (27.07.2019.)

Another view of the gate.(27.07.2019.)

ਸਚ ਖੰਡ ਵਸੈ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰسچ کھنڈ وسے نِرنکار(In the realm of Truth abides the Formless Lord.)

The main door.(27.07.2019.)

A side view of the building.(27.07.2019.)

Another view of the building(27.07.2019.)

੧ ਓਪ੍ਰਵਾਣ ਗਣੀ ਸੇਈ ਟਿਹਆਏਸਫਲ ਤਿਨਾ ਕੇ ਕਾਮਾ੨੦੦ ਇਸ ਬੜੇ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਕਰਾਈ ਬੀ: ਰਣਜੀਤ ਕੌਰ ਸੁਪਤਨੀ ਭਾ: ਮੋਹਣ ਸਿੰਘ ਅੰਸ ਭਾ: ਬੰਨੋਸਾਹਿਬ ਯਾਦਗਾਰ ਆਪਣੀ ਸਸਰੁਕਮਣ ਦੇਵੀ ਦੀ ਭਦਰ ੧੯੯੯ 1 اونکارپروانڑ گڑیں سوئی ٹِہائیسپھل تِنان کے کاما200 روپے اس بڑے دی سیوا کرائیبی بی رنڑجیت کور سُپتنی بھائیموہنڑ سنگھ انس بھائی بنوصاحب یادگار آپڑیں سسرکمنڑ دیوی دی بھدر 1999 (اگست/ستمبر 1942 ء)
Rs 200, service rendered by Bibi Ranjit Kaur w/o Bhai Mohan Singh Ans Bhai Banno sahib, in memory of her mother in law, Rukman Devi, Bhadr 1999. (Aug/Sep 1942 AD)

੧ ਓ ਸ੍ਰੀ ______ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ 
__________________________________________________ਸਮਤ ੧੯੯੬ 
ਭਾ: ਸਰਦਾਰ ਸਿੰਘ – ਸਪੁਤਰ  – ਭਾ: ਭਗਵਾਨ ਸਿੰਘ 

The above mentioned two gurdwaras are located in a busy bazaar, there is another gurdwara which is located on the outskirts of the city,  about a kilometer and half in the east of the city centre at  32°35’16.05″N;  73°30’26.80″E. It must have been in open green fields and would have presented a good view but now it is surrounded by closely built houses, without much planning. It seems that these houses have been constructed on the land of the gurdwara. This gurdwara was built in 1944, as an inscription on the building shows. Much of the other structures have been demolished or incorporated into the neighbouring houses, however, the main tower-like building still exists and is in reasonably good shape, considering the time passed since its construction. 

The three storey gurdwara building. (27.07.2019.)

A closer view of the two top floors.(27.07.2019.)

Writings on the building show that local Muslims also used it for sometime for religious purposes(27.07.2019.)

A view of the top floors from another angle.(27.07.2019.)

Another view of the top floor. (27.07.2019.)

Another side of the tower. (27.07.2019.)

A newly constructed structure blocks the fourth side of the tower.(27.07.2019.)

A view from the south.(27.07.2019.)

Ibrhim Tariq, though not having much interest in such affairs, came with me and perhaps enjoyed too.(27.07.2019.)

Irfan Ahmed, credit for this discovery goes to him.(27.07.2019.)

Tariq Amir. (27.07.2019.)

Entrance from this side has been blocked. The green door on the right is of a new construction(27.07.2019.)

ਸਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਨਿਵਾਸ(Holy shabds)
It seems that people used this building for religious purpose for sometime. But while painting Islamic phrases on the walls, they took care not to paint or disfigure the inscriptions in written in Gurmukhi.(27.07.2019.)

ਗੁਰ ਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਾਰ ਧਿਆ ਸਭਿ  ਆਖਹ ਧੰਨ ਧੰਨ ਧੰਨ ਗੁਰ ਮੋਈਸਤਿਕਰਤਾਰ ਜੀ (Holy shabds)

ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿ ਗੁਰ  –  ਬਲਿਹਰੀ ਜਿਨੇ ਏਹੁ  –  ਥਾਨੁ ਸੁਹਾ ਇਆ(Holy shabds)

ਬਾਬਾ ਪਰ ਪਰ ਪਰ ਪਜਾ ਆਸਣ ਥਾਪਣਸ ਆਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿ ਗੁਰ – ਬਲਿਹਾਹਾਰੀ ਜਿਨਏਹੁ – ਥਾਨੁ (Holy shabds)

— ਬਾਬਾ ਪਰ ਧਰ ਪਜਾ ਆਸਣ ਬਾਧਣ ਸਆ (Holy shabds)

1944 is inscribed on this corner, which gives its year of construction. So the devotees had to leave this place soon after its completion.  (27.07.2019.)

ਆਬ ਚਲਨੀ ਵਧਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤ ਚੜੇ —–
(Holy shabds)

ਸਤਿ ਗੁਰ ਕਰਿਦੀਨੇ ਅਸਬਿਰ ਘਰਬਾਰ (Holy shabds)

These buildings may not have much historical importance, nevertheless, these are a link to the pre-partition society of Mandi Bahauddin, when different religious communities lived in this city. It was a small town before independence, but the non-Muslims formed an overwhelming majority. As the table given below shows:

Mandi Bahauddin City Population: According to the Census of 1941
TotalMuslims%Hindus%Sikhs%
12,7522,26917.796,14648.20427733.54

Mandi Bahauddin is a new city and was probably settled during the development of canal colonies. In 1941 it had a population of just 12,572. Now the population according to the census of 2017 is 198,609. So this city has witnessed an exponential growth in the last 8 decades. These buildings should be preserved because their value as a part of our heritage and this city’s link to the pre-independence era.

Tariq AmirDecember 07, 2019.Doha – Qatar.

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